Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thoughts on faith, part 1


I've been thinking some more about my life and walk with God through difficult times. Most who have heard about my accident have been very encouraging and supportive, but there are a few who have said, "This wouldn't have happened if you had enough faith..." and with the best of intentions (so they say) they tell me how to avoid this kind of thing in the future. (I'm glad that none of the later are part of our church family.)
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But I have been reading over James 1 and James says that faith does not grow without tests and trials. His reason for joy is that from these trials our faith will grow. Read James' words and then let's visit-
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Jas 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
Jas 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Jas 1:4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
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If faith only grows through testing then why would I want to avoid a test? It's the same discipline that a weight lifter must exercise. He must lift weights to build his muscle strength. His strength doesn't increase without the test. James says this is true of faith as well. My faith needs tests to produce endurance and from those tests I grow in my relationship with God to a place where I am perfect and complete....lacking nothing.
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How can some in the Christian community say that hard times or trials are not in the will of God when all we read in scripture tell us that trials are a part of the life of faith? James makes it clear faith won't grow strong without trials. So if these are the "weights" that build my faith I want to use them for that purpose- to come to a place where I am perfect and complete....lacking nothing.
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For anyone to tell you that "if you had enough faith this wouldn't have happened" is to miss the very teachings of the bible. It's these trials that build my faith. If trials are not part of my walk then my faith is small. It's just the opposite of what some teach. So if you find trials in your life don't let anyone tell you it's because you don't have enough faith, instead respond in love by telling them, "On the contrary, this trial has come because I have faith, and I welcome it to make my faith even stronger. I will grow from this trial, and I will see God work in my life." Then smile and trust the Lord who is working in the midst of your trial.
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5 comments:

cheryl5van said...

Hey Mike, You may not know it, but the Lord had you write this for me. He knew what my heart needed and He used your writing. I thank the Lord for you and Joye. You are both a blessing to Phil and I and those around you. We continue to pray for you and will this Friday. What time is the surgery?

Mike Messerli said...

Cheryl,

thanks for the note. I am glad it helped you. The surgery is 7:30am tomorrow morning.

Anonymous said...

You are right on Mike. You have to go through your times in the desert before you reach the promised land. The scriptures will use gold as an example often. Gold is latent with impurities in its raw state. The only way to get pure gold is to refine it, and slowly over time with enough heat all the impurities are worked out. So it is with the spiritual life, a process of refining the spirit through various trials and troubles. Eventually, we become pure and perfect, not of our own merit, but as a life lived in process and relationship with God. Enjoy the journey, both its ups and its downs. God bless brother.

Cheri said...

We just wanted you to know that we're thinking about you, praying for you. We're praying for your mind, body, soul and spirit. We're praying for healing and encouragement.

We love you and we know the journey you are on right now will be used to bless many.

susan said...

We're praying for you, Mike. May God give you peace and a speedy recovery. We're also praying for Joye. May God give her peace, patience and strength.
Roger and Susan